Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation is a global leader and strong vertical integrator of nuclear technologies and services. Seattle based company that has been operating for 11 years, initially implementing the concept, and now the implementation project for the production and construction of modular, high-temperature, ultra­ safe nuclear power plants for which probability of releasing radioactive substances outside the reactor building and reactor – virtually zero. The company is proud to employ highly specialized experts from the nuclear energy market and outstanding scientists who have been active in this field in the most prominent nuclear research laboratories in the world.

Interview with Ziemowit Iwanski, VP Commercial & Business Development CEE Region, Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Ziemowit Iwanski: Currently, USNC offers multi-task, industrial, nuclear power systems with MMR™ reactors, modular, low power on the markets in the USA, Canada and recently in Europe. Due to the previously discussed features of this reactor, which can work without interruption and without the need to replace nuclear fuel for up to 20 years- it is being considered for use in projects of power plants operating “off grid” in Canada – in the north of the country where currently operating diesel systems are not able to compete with systems offered jointly by USNC and Ontario Power. Capability of MMR power system to generate superheated steam makes it of choice for retrofit of existing industrial fossil fuel steam generators. The plant unprecedent safety features allow for using it in close proximity to industrial sites.

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

Z.I: Our MMR™reactor is the news, first of the kind and will demonstrate exceptionally safe and environmentally friendly nuclear technology, enabling investigation into future energy systems where small reactors can play multiple roles. The MMR is gas-cooled and can supply process heat at temperatures above 500 degrees centigrade, being well suited for cogeneration of electricity and heat. 

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

Z.I: Our portfolio of products includes the micro modular reactor MMR™, the fully ceramic micro-encapsulated nuclear fuel TRISO, and nuclear power and propulsion technologies for space exploration. Plants capacities using MMR reactor modules can meet customer demand for various plant output demand. However, these are not expected to exceed 100 MW installed capacity of the plant.

USNC is also building on the FCM® fuel and MMR design to develop nuclear thermal propulsion systems for space exploration, space-based fission surface power through our Pylon project, and our EmberCore technology to heat and power space systems.

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

Z.I: USNC reactor technology is under licensing process on the Canadian and US markets. First power for the Canadian project is expected in 2026. The technology is currently at the final stage of assessment and approval. Regardless of the works on the power plant license, they will be implemented jointly with the Canadian Center for Nuclear Research – research on nuclear fuel used in MMR™ reactors, which may have a significant impact on increasing their operational capabilities and safe temperature range in its highest ranges of applications. The first power plant will be built at the Chalk River site in Canada. The market is under build up process, we enter into dialogue with different industrial customers who are looking to replace their fossil fuel with clean and reliable energy source.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

Z.I: It is a globally growing market; energy stability is crucial for the development of every country. In Poland for example the government’s decisions were certainly accelerated due to the war in Ukraine and the embargo on Russian gas. The construction of a nuclear power plant in Poland is a strategic investment for the sustainable energy source. Nuclear power is a stable source of electricity that improves the energy independence of the country. Industry needs as well reliable and long-term stable supply of energy at competitive cost level. High temperature output from MMR reactors is favorable for highly efficient hydrogen production systems – both as a byproduct and in direct distributed hydrogen fuel supply systems. This creates long time perspective for technology demand on the market.

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

Z.I: As I indicated above, the micro modular reactor MMR™, the FCM fully ceramic microencapsulated nuclear fuel, and our space solutions. This fuel cannot be damaged at any operational and accidental conditions, it doesn’t melt down. No radionuclides can be released from the FCM fuel pellets in any conditions, as well during spent fuel long term storage.

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2023?

Z.I: The company will continue working towards demonstrating MMR™Energy Systems at the Canadian Nuclear Laboratories with Ontario Power Generation, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and LUT University in Lappeenranta, Finland. We are also aiming for the deployment of new projects in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Of course, we are open for further market development and Romania is also a target market for USNC technology applications.